Thousands of Kurds rallied at a stadium in Duhok in Iraqi Kurdistan on Saturday, September 16, in support of a planned referendum for Kurdish independence, scheduled for September 25.
President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani spoke at the Duhok rally and said that the referendum would go ahead as planned, despite condemnation from the United States and Iraqi governments.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, in an interview with Associated Press on Saturday, said Iraq would be willing to intervene militarily if the referendum resulted in violence, and said the vote would violate Iraq’s constitution.
On Tuesday, the Iraqi parliament voted to reject the referendum.
The White House on Friday issued a statement saying it did not support the referendum, calling on the Kurdistan Regional Government to cancel it. It described plans for the referendum as “provocative and destabilizing” and said they were “distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilize the liberated areas.” Credit: Hemin Hawrami via Storyful